A brand new campaign from Carers UK to help unpaid carers become more physically active in engaging and accessible ways will kick off shortly. Carers Active April will help unpaid carers all over the UK who want to move more but find it challenging due to the demands of their roles.
Those caring for a partner, relative or friend who is disabled, frail or unwell are being called on to sign up or spread the word on what promises to be an inclusive and exciting four weeks.
Three quarters of carers (76%) are not able to do as much physical exercise as they’d like to due to the stress and demands of caring for a relative or friend. At the same time 73% say that being physically active makes them feel good about themselves.[i] Carers Active April aims to change this so more carers can more easily access activity and feel the benefits of it.
On joining, carers will receive: A free starter pack including free resources, access to online sessions, and weekly emails with helpful ideas, top tips and links to more support. The four weeks of activity will culminate in a ‘Healthathon’ [ii]on Saturday 30 April, a fun, free online event which will offer exclusive sessions to join throughout the day as well as special guests. The first 500 carers to sign up to Carers Active April will receive a special Healthathon pack.
Funded by Sport England through the National Lottery and run by Carers UK as part of the ongoing Carers Active campaign, the month will offer unpaid carers opportunities to give new activities a go.
Carers and their families as well as organisations can visit Carers UK’s Carers Active Hub and read about the experiences of others and their journeys to becoming more active. Carers and organisations can share their own experiences and find inspiration in others as well as share what they have planned using the campaign hashtag #CarersActiveApril.
Hayley has been caring for her husband for three years, after he suffered a spinal injury. She discovered how physical exercise could help her mental health earlier in the COVID pandemic when she felt overloaded and had to take time off work. She said:
“I now go to a local gym to a class each week with a friend. I also signed up for a 5k. The exercise makes me feel fitter, generates natural endorphins and makes me feel happier.”
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:
“Carers have had an extremely challenging time during the pandemic, and many have seen their own health and wellbeing significantly impacted by their caring responsibilities during this time Now more than ever, finding ways to improve carers’ health and wellbeing is crucial. Caring for someone who is older, disabled or seriously ill can make it very difficult for carers to prioritise their own health and wellbeing on a day-to-day basis.
“We’re delighted to introduce Carers Active April and the Barclays funded Healthathon as an enjoyable way for unpaid carers to find some physical activity that they enjoy, that they can benefit from and that they can fit around their caring responsibilities.”
For online activities, tips and motivation from other carers sharing their own stories to getting more active, carers and their families can visit Carers UK’s Carer's Active Hub to find out more, and sign up receive their exclusive Carers Active April Starter Pack.
Notes to editors:
More about Carers Active: Carers Active is a Sport England and National Lottery funded project delivered by Carers UK, aimed at supporting unpaid carers to be more physically active and improve their mental and physical health and wellbeing as a result. Physical activity is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle and helps with managing stress and anxiety as well as reducing loneliness and increasing feelings of positivity during daily life. Every minute of physical activity counts to improve carers' health, and it’s never too late for carers to start moving more.
The project sees Carers UK working with carers, organisations, and professionals to:
- Continue to help carers become more physically active and improve health andwellbeing, especially to reduce loneliness.
- Raise awareness of the benefits of physical activity and ways to address barriers.
- Increase opportunities for carers to access a range of different physical activities.
We are working to raise the profile of physical activity and carers, encourage positive action to make physical activity more possible for carers, fitting in with their needs, as well as deliver support directly to carers, through session delivery and volunteer involvement.
[i] About the research: This was a mixed methods research project which included a quantitative phase consisting of analysis of over 2000 responses to the State of Caring 2019 survey as well as a qualitative phase including focus groups and interviews with 37 participants. This was followed by a pilot project, testing the ideas from the research with 27 participants.
[ii] The Healthathon is supported by Barclays’ £100m COVID-19 Community Aid Package with its 100x100 Programme aimed at getting support right into the heart of local communities across the UK and reach those that need it. Through the programme, Barclays is supporting 250 UK grassroots charities with donations of £100,000 to deliver impactful on-the-ground support to local communities affected by the pandemic.